: El guardagujas (Spanish Edition) (): Juan José Arreola, Jill Hartley, Dulce María Zúñiga: Books. http://www. A propósito de las elecciones, les comparto un fragmento de “El guardagujas” de Juan José.

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The Switchman Guaedagujas one level the story operates as a satire on the Mexican transportation system, while on another the railroad is an analogy for the hopeless absurdity of the human condition. Retrieved April 12, Another episode involves a trainload of energetic passengers who became heroes absurd heroes guardavujas Camusian terms when they disassembled their train, carried it across a bridgeless chasm, and reassembled it jusn the other side in order to complete their journey.

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. The old man then dissolves arrepla the clear morning air, and only the red speck of the lantern remains visible before the noisily approaching engine. It has been seen as a satire on Mexico’s railroad service and the Mexican character, as a lesson taught by the instincts to a human soul about to be born, as a modern allegory of Christianity, as a complex political satire, as a surrealistic fantasy on the illusive nature of reality, and as an existentialist view of life with Mexican modifications.

El Guardagujas… de Juan José Arreola

The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article.

The switchman’s anecdote about the founding of the village F, which occurred when a train accident stranded a group of passengers—now happy settlers—in a remote region, illustrates the element of chance in human existence.

As demonstrated by its numerous interpretations, “The Switchman” is fraught with ambiguity. Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment? There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station.

El Guardagujas de Juan José Arreola – video dailymotion

The latter comes closest to the most convincing interpretation, namely, that Arreola has based his tale on Albert Camus ‘s philosophy of the absurd as set forth in The Myth of Sisyphus, a collection of essays Camus published in The details of the story do not really support his claim that he is indeed an official switchman, so it may be that his tales represent a system that presents absurdity as an official truth and relies on the gullibility of the audience.

A stranger carrying a large suitcase runs towards a train station, and manages to arrive exactly at the time that his train bound for a town identified only as T. In one case, where the train reached an abyss with no bridge, the passengers happily broke down and rebuilt the train on the other side. Instead, they resembled the work of writers like Franz Kafka and Albert Camus arreolw their examination of the human condition.


From the first lines of “The Switchman” the stranger stands out as a man of reason, fully expecting guardaguajs, because he has a ticket to T, the train will take him there on time.

The Switchman

As the man speculates about where his train might be, he feels a touch on his shoulder and turns to see a small old man dressed like a railroader and carrying a lantern. In addition, it is not really clear that the system does operate in the way the switchman claims: The stranger is also told it should make no difference to him whether or not he reaches T, that once he is on the train his life “will indeed take on some direction.

The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a train to T.

The horrified stranger, who keeps insisting that he must arrive at destination T the next day, is therefore advised to rent a room in a nearby inn, an ash-colored building resembling a jail where would-be travelers are lodged.

Thus, the stranger’s heavy suitcase symbolizes the burden of reason he carries about, and the inn resembles a jail, the place where others guarrdagujas him are lodged before setting out on life’s absurd journey. He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T. He feels that those with authority create absurd laws and conditions arrdola their domain, and their subjects often willingly accept these absurdities, much like ordinary train passengers.

The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants guqrdagujas go, the switchman receives the answer X instead of T.

He vanishes because he has fulfilled his role as the stranger’s subconscious by not only asking the Camusian question “Why? But it guarrdagujas becomes apparent from the information provided him by his interlocutor that the uncertain journey he is about to undertake gkardagujas a metaphor of the absurd human condition described by Camus.

In areas where no rails exist, passengers simply wait for the unavoidable wreck. The absurd human is aware not only of the limits of reason but also of the absurdity of death and nothingness that will ultimately be his or her fate. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Where there is only one rail instead of two, the trains zip along and allow the first class passengers the side of the train riding on the rail. In some cases, new towns, like the town of F. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. The story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Guqrdagujas Inventions Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia.


Modern Language Association http: In his piece, Arreola focuses on reality as well. It was republished ten years later along with other published works by Arreola at that time in the collection El Confabulario total.

And the conductors’ pride in never failing to deposit their deceased passengers on the station platforms as prescribed by their tickets suggests that the only certain human destination is death, a fundamental absurdist concept. The stranger argues that he should be able to go to T. In arrekla final lines of Arreola’s story the assertion of the stranger now referred to as the traveler that he is going to X rather than T indicates that he has become an absurd man ready to set out for an unknown destination.

In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good. Like most of Arreola’s stories, The Switchman’ can be interpreted in a variety of ways—as an allegory of the pitfalls of the Mexican train system, an existential horror story of life’s absurdities and human limitation, and the author’s desire to laugh in spite of the insanities of the arreola and human interaction.

The railroad management was so pleased that they decided to suspend any official bridge building and instead encourage the stripping and recreation of future trains. Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it. The switchman guardagujaw relates a series of preposterous anecdotes, alluded to below, that illustrate the problems one might encounter during any given journey.

He asks the stranger for the name of the station he wants to go to and the stranger says it is “X. Arrsola switchman tells the stranger that the inn is filled with people who have made that very same assumption, and who may one day actually get there. Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd. When the stranger asks the switchman how he knows all of this, the switchman replies that he is a retired switchman who josee train stations to reminisce about old times.

Rather, the absurd arises from the clash between reasoning humans striving for order and the silent, unreasonable world offering no response to their persistent demands. The absurd human is one who recognizes a lack of clear purpose in life and therefore resolves to commit himself or herself to the struggle for order against the unpredictable, fortuitous reality he or she encounters.